So you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, and you’d like to know your rights?
Driving a vehicle on the road is a fairly hazardous activity and road traffic accidents are (unfortunately) a frequent occurrence causing losses and personal injury – 10 deaths per day and 120 serious injuries. Because of this it is compulsory to have your car insured before you take it on the road. Unfortunately some people do not insure their cars, or they allow others to drive even though they are not covered by the policy. If this happens it can be stressful trying to work out who, if anyone, is going to pay to have your car replaced or repaired and settle your claim for compensation if you are injured.
The following page is designed to help you sort through the legal maze and tell you who should be compensating you for the losses they have caused to you.
If you are the innocent party you will normally sue the other driver. As long as the other driver is validly insured, their insurer will deal with the claim on behalf of their insured and pay any compensation for which their insured is responsible.
But what if the other driver is not insured?
In that situation the law may step in and make the insurer of the vehicle (even if the driver was not covered on the policy) or the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) responsible for paying for some of the damage – provided the claimant follows certain formal steps. It is an important part of your solicitors’ job to make sure those steps are followed correctly. If you place your claim in the hands of competent solicitors they will know how best to proceed with the business of ensuring you are compensated to the fullest level that the law allows.
What are MIB Agreements and how do I know which one applies to my claim (if at all)?
The MIB Agreements are voluntary arrangements by which all motor insurers provide a fund for compensating the victims of road accidents caused by negligent uninsured or untraced drivers. It’s a kind of ‘fund of last resort’ for the victims of uninsured drivers to ensure that they do receive compensation even though there was no insurance policy available to pay out on the claim. It is not usual to name the MIB as a defendant unless a ruling on the construction of the agreement itself is sought.How do I know if I can claim on the other vehicle’s insurance or claim through the MIB?
(a) The owner of the vehicle does have insurance but lets his “mate” drive – and he’s not covered by the policy and does not have his own insurance.
(b) The owner of the vehicle does have insurance but the car is stolen and the thief does not have insurance.
(c) The owner of the vehicle did take out insurance but the insurers have canceled the policy on the grounds that the owner lied on his proposal form (so the insurance policy is void for non-disclosure). If the insurance is ‘void’ it means it’s as if the policy had never been taken out in the first place – ie there is no policy!
(d) The owner of the vehicle does have insurance but lets his “mate” drive – and he’s not covered by the policy and does not have his own insurance.
(e) The owner of the vehicle does have insurance but the car is stolen and the thief does not have insurance.
(f) The owner of the vehicle did take out insurance but the insurers have repudiated liability on the grounds that the insurance policy is void for non-disclosure.
An insurance policy was never taken out! “Why pay high insurance prices when I can pay a lower fine to the magistrates if I get caught.”
In Category 2 there is no insurer concerned –so a s 151 notice is not appropriate. However, the MIB may provide a safety net. The victim may however be able to obtain compensation from the MIB under one of the agreements for Compensation for Victims of Uninsured Drivers. These provide a fund in respect of uninsured drivers. The MIB has entered into a series of Agreements with the Secretary of State. Under each agreement the MIB undertakes obligations to pay defined compensation in specific circumstances. It levies charges upon insurers and so the funds come indirectly from the premiums which are charged by those insurers to members of the public.
Under both agreements the claimant should sue and obtain judgment against the driver. If the judgment remains unsatisfied for more than 7 days, the MIB pays.
However, there are complicated notice provisions under the agreements. There are many pitfalls for the unwary and if you have a claim against a driver who turns out to be uninsured advice from an appropriately qualified legal advisor will be essential.
I have been involved in an accident with another driver (whether I was driver or pedestrian) and having hit me the other vehicle drove away before I had an opportunity to get his details.
This is the case of the hit and run driver. Here we don’t know whether the driver was insured because we don’t know who he was and we can’t sue the driver either for the same reason. In this situation a claim can be made under the Second MIB Agreement (Compensation for victims of Untraced Drivers Agreement 2003). Compensation is limited to physical injury and the victim must present proof that the driver was negligent. There are many pitfalls for the unwary and if you have a claim against a driver who turns out to be uninsured advice from an appropriately qualified legal advisor will be essential.